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Fiction Domestic

Daniil and Vanya

by (author) Marie-Hélène Larochelle

translated by Michelle Winters

Invisible Publishing
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Domestic, Psychological, Family Life
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price

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We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Goodnight Mommy in this outrageous modern family thriller.

Emma and Gregory have a perfect life—a gorgeous home, a successful design firm—except for their inability to start a family. Following a traumatic failed pregnancy, they decide to travel to Russia to adopt a pair of twin boys. From the moment they board the plane in St. Petersburg, the twins begin to demonstrate perverse behaviour that grows increasingly ominous, driving a wedge between Emma and Gregory, and alienating their friends and family. The two brothers show worrying signs of lack of empathy, and seem to leave behind a trail of disturbing incidents, and rumours persist as the boys grow into teenagers—even as Emma continues to cling to her dream of the perfect family. A dark, violent, and tense novel, Daniil and Vanya shows the bond between parent and child gone horribly awry.

A Book of the Year, Quill & Quire

"Sinister and awe-inspiringly good."Chatelaine

"Readers will find themselves unable to look away."Quill & Quire

About the authors

Marie-Hélène Larochelle is Associate Professor at York University. Her research is about violence in contemporary French literature. She is the author of two scholarly books, L’abécédaire des monstres. Fragments de Réjean Ducharme (PUL, 2011) winner of Prix de l'Essai 2012. Société des Écrivains francophones d'Amérique, and Poétique de l’invective romanesque, L’invectif chez Louis-Ferdinand Céline et Réjean Ducharme (XYZ, 2008), finalist for Prix Raymond-Klibansky 2010. She is also the author of collective scholarly publications including Le Dire-monstre (Tangence, 2009), Identités monstrueuses : violences et invectives dans le roman francophone européen (Présence francophone, 2010), and Monstres et monstrueux littéraires (PUL, 2008). Daniiel et Vanya is her first novel, and her second novel, Cyan, will be published in 2020. She lives in Toronto.

Marie-Hélène Larochelle's profile page

Esther Griffin lives in Barrie, Ontario, where she teaches creative writing and English literature at Georgian College. She writes poetry, fiction, and graphic forms and is currently working on her thesis novel to complete her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. Her poetry and fiction have been published in various anthologies. She can be found online at
Tracey McGillivray’s nonfiction has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, and Don’t Talk To Me About Love. She grew up on a farm near Lake Huron and, after completing an MA in Journalism, worked in health care communications. Tracey lives in Toronto with her husband, two teens and two dogs. “Things Float Away” is her first published fiction.
Shoshana Gertler is a fiction writer living in New Jersey. She began writing stories at the same time that she began reading them. In 2017 she earned an MFA in fiction at The New School in New York City. She has published her work in a handful of newspapers and magazines.

Michelle Winters' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The sense of dread and horror is physically palpable, and the careful stagecraft of the writing... is precisely calibrated. Readers will find themselves unable to look away... the book is a remarkable achievement."Quill & Quire, starred review

"Not quite a horror nor a thriller, Daniil and Vanya is subtle in its uneasy sordidness… its disturbing nature is gripping, and will keep you hooked."Maisonneuve

"An unflinching psychological horror story, both sinister and awe-inspiringly good."Chatelaine

"I am in awe of this book, of its power to agitate and affect me so deeply, it’s been over two weeks since I finished it, but I can’t forget about it."—Anne Logan, I've Read This

“Marie-Hélène Larochelle’s story about a perfect-on-paper couple who adopt Russian twins is its own unique nightmare. In Michelle Winters’s translation, Larochelle’s unadorned language reads like a lengthy confession, or perhaps a defence, building suspense to its inevitable conclusion. As author Casey Plett wrote in her starred Q&Q review, “The tensions of the book play on how—not if—it’s all going to hell.”—Books of the Year, Quill & Quire

"Daniil and Vanya has none of the gentleness for which Canadian literature is sometimes known. It’s savage, direct, and shocking. Marie-Hélène Larochelle’s academic work focuses on violence and vulgarity in French literature, which she explores in this novel without the filter of Canadian politeness. The book goes in swinging and doesn’t stop until it’s gripped you with its haunting brutality to where you can’t look away."—note from the translator Michelle Winters, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author of I Am a Truck


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